In the Herald - Take a drive on the wild side

Date Published 
Wed 23 Dec 2020

This week we are taking you away from the dark mornings and chilly evenings of the Ayrshire winter on a summer trip to Cuba with our club member Agnes Dalziel...

On a visit Havana you could be forgiven for thinking the city has been frozen in time. There is little evidence of new multi-story offices. In fact, there are very few new buildings at all. The city has a kind of faded beauty - like an ageing movie star. At one time it has been a stunningly beautiful city, but has now slid into disrepair.  There are however signs here and there of buildings being restored.

The other notable absence are modern cars. The majority of cars in the centre of Havana are 1950’s American cars and old Ladas.

If you do visit Havana there are certain things you just need to do.  A run in one of the lovingly restored American vintage cars that the city is famous for. These cars are prized possessions, handed down through families, father to son.  It’s hardly surprising since during tourist season these car owners can earn much more than doctors or lawyers.  The cars are lined up waiting for their passengers with the owners buffing and polishing so the chrome-work gleams in the sunshine.  Look more closely and duct tape’s in evidence in the less conspicuous places. There are stories about the springs from discarded mattresses being used to repair the cars.  Totally believable, but I just wish they had used some of the stuffing in the seats!   On a run along the Malecon with the sun shining and the sea breeze in your hair and you feel like you are in a 1950’s movie.

My other must do was a visit to the Tropicana.  A ticket for dinner and show includes drinks - a full bottle of rum and one can of the local cola.  That sets the scene for the evening.  Costumes are elaborate, dancers move at an incredible pace and the show is an over the top extravaganza.  It certainly is an enjoyable evening although the rum may have been a bit too much!

The number of tourists arriving in Havana by ship is limited not, I imagine, by any conscious decision, but rather that, similar to the rest of the city, only one of the three piers is usable.  Much as it is surprising that the piers have not been repaired to allow more visitors this works in your favour since the city isn’t overcrowded with visitors and it is a pleasure to wander around finding something of interest around every corner.

As a keen photographer there are opportunities for good pictures everywhere in Havana.  I hope you enjoy some of the images that I caught of the people and places of this wonderful city.

If you are thinking about post-COVID travel plans for next year and would like to brush up on your photography before you go, I can thoroughly recommend Irvine Camera Club.  You can find all our details at and on many social media platforms.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone at the club.